Mentally-ill seek peer support on YouTube

Mentally-ill seek peer support on YouTube

London: YouTube has become a common platform to seek and provide peer support for people suffering from mental disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

"People with severe mental illness are now open about their illness experiences on a public social media website like YouTube," said lead study author John Naslund from the Dartmouth College's Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice, New Hampshire in Britain.

Researchers found that people with severe mental illness did not appear to be concerned about the risks of openly sharing their personal illness experiences because they really wanted to help others with similar mental health problems.

They used a method called online ethnography to analyze 3,044 comments posted to 19 videos uploaded by individuals who self-identified as having schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

They then used qualitative methods to analyse the comments and find common themes in the data.

"People with severe mental illness used YouTube to feel less alone and to find hope, to support and to defend each other, and to share personal stories and strategies for coping with day-to-day challenges," Naslund added.

They also sought to learn from the experiences of others about using medication and seeking mental health care.

It helps them to overcome fears associated with living with mental illness and it also creates a sense of community among these individuals, the researchers noted.

Severe mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are also associated with a great deal of stigma and discrimination.

The report was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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